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CARITAS to Install Largest Solar Power System at any Nonprofit in Virginia

More than 1,000 Heliene brand photovoltaic solar panels will be installed starting in Spring 2020 on the roof of the CARITAS Center. The 427 Kilowatts of Solar Arrays Will Save an Estimated $427,000 in Energy Costs.

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CARITAS has signed an agreement with Secure Futures Solar of Staunton to install and operate the largest solar power system at any facility for a non-profit organization in Virginia. Solar arrays on the new CARITAS Center now under construction will provide a total capacity of 427 kilowatts of clean energy, estimated to cut the organization’s electric utility bills by $427,000 over the next 25 years.

More than 1,000 Heliene brand photovoltaic solar panels will be installed starting in Spring 2020 on the roof of the CARITAS Center currently being renovated in the Southside area of Richmond. The solar energy system is expected to cover a substantial portion of the new facility’s energy use by generating enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 72 average homes and to offset 464 tons of carbon dioxide pollution.

According to data on solar installations registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the solar arrays at the CARITAS Center will have the largest capacity of any solar energy system located on a building or elsewhere at the location of a non-profit organization in Virginia. As of 2016, Virginia hosted nearly 38,000 nonprofit organizations delivering vital community services, according to consultancy Independent Sector.

“Innovation is one of our core values at CARITAS,” said President & CEO Karen Stanley. “As we move ahead bringing this bold vision for the CARITAS Center to life, it is important that we integrate new energy solutions into our project. We hope we can lead the way as other nonprofits bring solutions like this to life in their communities.”

Secure Futures will install solar energy equipment at no upfront capital cost to CARITAS and will operate the system under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement. Over that term, CARITAS will buy all the electricity generated by the solar panels located on site from Secure Futures at a cost lower than typically available. CARITAS will use a $17,000 grant from the RVA Solar Fund, administered by the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

“CARITAS is walking the talk in linking clean energy to community service in Virginia, ” said Anthony Smith, president and CEO of Secure Futures. “Rooftop solar will cut their electric bills, making more resources available for their most vulnerable neighbors break the cycles of homelessness and addiction to reclaim their lives.”

When renovation of the former warehouse facility is completed later in 2020, the CARITAS Center will feature 150,000 square foot of space to house an emergency shelter, a substance-use recovery program for women, 47 apartments for people transitioning out of homlessness, a workforce development center, a furniture bank, and the organization’s administrative offices.

The decision to add solar power at the new facility is consistent with the commitment of CARITAS to effective stewardship of resources that are both financial and ecological. The building will also incorporate about 45 solar tubes, which will filter natural light throughout the Center. Other appliances are ENERGY STAR certified to manage usage and costs. Toilets in the bulding will also feature automatic shut off functions.

CARITAS helps our most vulnerable neighbors break the cycles of homelessness and addiction to reclaim their dignity. For more than 30 years, CARITAS has been providing effective, permanent solutions to individuals and families dealing with the crisis of homelessness and/or substance use disorders in the Metro Richmond area. Its four programs include Emergency Shelter, the Furniture Bank, CARITAS Works, and The Healing Place. Through these four programs, CARITAS provides men and women with the tools to make a successful transition to dignity and self-sufficiency.  You can learn more on the organization’s website at www.caritasva.org.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Virtual Carter Jones/Fonticello Playground Meeting – Kids Encouraged to Attend

Parks, Recreations, and Community Facilities (PRCF) Department will be meeting virtually with community members to discuss possible replacement designs of the playground equipment in Carter Jones/Fonticello Park.

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Chris Schwartz from the City of Richmond’s Parks, Recreations, and Community Facilities (PRCF) Department will be meeting virtually with community members to discuss and review possible replacement designs of the playground equipment in Carter Jones/Fonticello Park.

The equipment was removed due safety concerns after being vandalized late last year. The replacement equipment once selected and funded will be moved to the New Master plan location to start the Markiya Simone Dickson Imagination Zone. The park master plans will be posted in the comments of the event link.

We are encouraging KIDS ages 5-12 to attend this meeting. Chris says he always gets the best playground feedback from them.

When: Saturday, January 23, 2021 – 10am
Topic: Carter Jones / Fonticello Playground Meeting

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81796890700…
Passcode: 318020

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16465588656,,81796890700#,,,,*318020#
Or Telephone:
US: +1 646 558 8656
Webinar ID: 817 9689 0700
Passcode: 318020

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Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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Councilperson Kristen Larson’s Statement on Full Traffic Signal at Huguenot and Cherokee

Between 2015 and 2018, there were 26 vehicle crashes at the Huguenot and Cherokee intersection.

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Statement from Councilperson Kristen Larson:

Dear 4th District Neighbors:

I am writing to update you on the proposed full traffic signal at the intersection of Huguenot and Cherokee Roads. More than a year ago, on August 19, 2019, I hosted a meeting at the Huguenot Community Center to discuss the Department of Public Works’ (DPW) proposal for the signal. Travis Bridewell, the City’s Traffic Engineering Operations Manager, presented the proposal along with crash data justifying DPW’s support of the project. Between 2015 and 2018, there were 26 vehicle crashes at the Huguenot and Cherokee intersection. Since that meeting, our office has heard from many of you with safety concerns from drivers and bicyclists who pass through this well-trafficked area.

I realize that there are a number of residents who are concerned that the installation of a full traffic signal at this intersection might increase traffic volume and speeds along Cherokee Road. Fortunately, DPW will be installing 2 speed tables on Cherokee Road this spring which will help to slow and deter traffic. This was an option that was discussed at the meeting in 2019.

Based on the traffic crash data and the community feedback I have received over the past year, I am in full support of the Huguenot/Cherokee full traffic signal which will include ADA ramps, pedestrian countdown signals, and ladder crosswalks. The project is not currently funded, but I have expressed my support for it in forthcoming budgets.

Please feel free to email comments or questions to [email protected] or call (804) 646-5646.

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